The Panda Problem

cover image of The Panda ProblemIn The Panda Problem by Deborah Underwood, an unseen narrator begins recounting a tale about "a panda who lived in a beautiful bamboo grove." When it comes time to introduce a problem, the laid-back panda denies this narrative claim. The disgruntled narrator lays down the rules and volleys a series of conflict-probing questions to no avail. While lounging on a hammock, the untroubled panda has a revelation and turns the storytelling tables. With the editorial reins now firmly in his paw, the bear riles up the narrator with annoying antics like playing the banjo, singing "The Bamboo Burp Song," and sailing to Antarctica. Marks's colored pencil cartoon illustrations humorously capture the mischievous glint in the panda's eyes, and are full of zany details like a jellybean rainstorm and a trio of purple puffball aliens. The clever conflict resolution will surely inspire readers to become "story experts."  Superb comedic pacing and belly-laugh-inducing dialogue make this a metafictional storytime standout.

Linda Ludke, Librarian, Central Library